History Summary

Before 1960 – Pre-Institute years

Although the Department of Music was formed in 1919 with the establishment of the Southern Branch of the University of California, the Music Department did not begin offering degrees until 1939, three years after composer Arnold Schoenberg joined the faculty. Initially, the Department placed emphasis on music education. Courses on American music, folk music (i.e. world music), aesthetics, and acoustics did not become permanent offerings until the 1940s and 1950s. Laurence Petran, who was hired as the university organist, played a major role in creating and teaching courses on folk music and acoustics. While Petran laid the foundation for the academic study of both ethnomusicology and systematic musicology, Mantle Hood (when he arrived in 1954) was responsible for enhancing the program by making courses in world music performance, culture area studies, and ethnomusicology theory and method integral components of UCLA's Music Department curriculum.

1960-74 -- Institute of Ethnomusicology, Department of Music

In 1959, Mantle Hood and Boris Kremenliev wrote a proposal for the establishment of the Institute of Ethnomusicology, which came into existence in 1960. By 1964, the Institute contained an archive, several world music performance ensembles, a publications program, a large collection of world music instruments, and a laboratory for the scientific study of world music. World-renowned scholars and master musicians from different parts of the world joined the Music Department faculty.

1974-89 -- Program in Ethnomusicology, Department of Music

The Institute was disestablished and Mantle Hood retired in 1974. However, the study of ethnomusicology and systematic musicology continued as a Program in the Music Department, and new roster faculty were hired.

1989-07 -- Department of Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology (renamed Department of Ethnomusicology in 1996)

Through the efforts of Nazir Jairazbhoy and other faculty, the Program in Ethnomusicology was granted Department status in 1989. Establishment of the Department of Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology led to the offering of a one-year series of courses in world music theory and musicianship, a B. A. degree in ethnomusicology, an undergraduate concentration in jazz studies, with Kenny Burrell as Director of Jazz Studies, and the hiring of several new faculty members. In addition to course offerings, the Department enriched the learning environment by organizing concerts, symposia, and conferences; residences for guest lecturers and concert artists; and outreach programs in partnership with the local community.

2007-present – The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Department of Ethnomusicology

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music (HASOM) was formed in November 2007 with a $30 million endowment gift from the renowned performer, producer, and philanthropist Herb Alpert and his wife Lani Hall Alpert. As indicated on the HASOM website, the School of Music is devoted to the performance and study of music in all its global diversity, including art music, jazz, popular music, and world music. To enhance this philosophy, the Departments of Ethnomusicology, Music, and Musicology have aligned, thereby enabling the students to augment their academic studies with courses in music business, music in the public sector, and music and health. In turn, this balanced approach to performance, scholarship, and practical knowledge represents a significant departure from the study of history, theory, and performance of European classical music as taught in most colleges and universities in the United States.

The establishment of HASOM has not changed Ethnomusicology as an independent, distinct, and autonomous departmental unit. Similar to past years, we continue to flourish and move forward as the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology.

Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Chair
January 2010


Go to the "Fifty Years of Ethnomusicology at UCLA, 1960-2010" homepage.